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Greens


hillvalley
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Picked up some collard greens at my farmer's market today and need a great soul food/southern style greens recipe. The more details the better. How long should they cook, do I chop them, remove the stem, etc? Also, are ham hocks better than smoked turkey wings?

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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I'm sure you'll get some great replies with detailed recipes, especially from southerners. I'll start off with some things I know.

First, definitely remove the stems from the collards. I've found that the easiest way to do this is to hold the stem in one hand, and with the other thumb and forefinger, pull the green from the stalk. After doing a few, you'll quickly develop a technique that works well for you.

I usually chop the greens roughly before cooking.

There are a couple (maybe more) schools of thought about cooking collards. The traditional southern style calls for long cooking (an hour or so) to make the greens meltingly tender. The greens would be sauteed in a little oil (or bacon), some garlic, perhaps a hot pepper or two. After the greens wilt, add a bit of broth or water. A ham hock could be added during this cooking. Then cover and cook until really tender. At the end, uncover cook down the liquid.

A more northern technique would be either to cook the greens in boiling water until just tender, then squeeze out moisture and saute in oil and garlic. Or saute as with southern style but cook only until just tender.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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There is a recipe in Emeril's Real & Rustic book (I know, Emiril sucks, this old book has some winners in it) that I get great results from.

It includes lots of chopped bacon (cooked til crisp), lots of chopped onions (added & cooked down), salt, cayenne, garlic, pepper, a mess of greens (stems removed but still in big pieces), some beer, some white vinegar, and some molasses. This gets cooked for over an hour and is absolutely yum.

Here is the recipe on the FoodTV site.

I'd be interested to know what the Southerners think of the recipe. I was born in Virginia but I've been away far too long to consider myself expert on greens!

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I do pretty much as stevea and Mixmaster b describe (no beer or molasses, though). Chiffonade the leaves (make a pile of a few, roll up tightly, and cut across in strips). I add a pretty good amount of liquid, because if the water boils out, OMG you would not believe the stench. :shock: And I always always add chilies, and a splash of vinegar near the end.

I've also used smoked turkey for flavoring with less fat, and done a kosher-style version with kosher smoked turkey.

I suppose there are more trendy ways to deal with greens, but why mess with a classic?

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In my area of South Carolina, we prep them pretty much the way stevea suggests in the "southern" part of his post. A requirement for making it soulfood is to sautee a piece or two of country(salt cured) ham in the pot before adding collards and water, or adding a smoked ham hock as you start to boil them.

Simmer covered for at least an hour until they are very soft.

Pickled hot peppers and their vinegar are added to taste at the table. Other standard accompaniements are chow chow and/or pickled beets.

Forget Emirel's molasses and beer. He only comes South occasionally to pick up a bag or two of American currency.

Martinis don't come from vodka and bacon don't come from turkeys!

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Doing a chiffonade and preparing them like stevea is a great way to do them. One thing that is pretty neat is to chop them finely after cooking and mixing in with a batch of polenta and a splash of cream.

Blake

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Mine never tasted good until I learned this technique from Cook's Illustrated: chop, boil for a few minutes in a good amount of water, drain and cool in a change of cold water, squeeze out and THEN saute. The greens are deliciously tender with no bitterness whatsoever.

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Greens'n'grits! We always had these growing up whenever we had pork chops. (There would also be some pork in the greens -- either ham hock or fat back.). My mom served the grits and greens separately, but I always mixed mine together. We usually had turnip or mustard greens, though, as my sister for some reason thought collard greens were 'beneath her'.

Cheers,

Squeat

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Since I still had collards coming out of my ears (actually, out of the ground in my garden) and they're predicting frost in Oregon in the next couple of days, I tried the Emeril recipe that mixmaster b recommended. I probably could have gotten 6 pounds of collards out of my garden, but it's amazing how big a pile 3 pounds of raw collards makes, and I just didn't want to clean any more.

The recipe made tasty greens (the rice wine vinegar and molasses gave a nice sweet tartness). The beer doesn't add much. But the big problem was getting the greens tender. Cooking them uncovered, as the recipe suggests, just doesn't do it well enough. I cooked them for about two hours (adding liquid as needed) and they were still chewier than I had envisioned. They would have gotten much more tender had I covered the pot initially, cooked the greens until they were appropriately tender, then uncovered and cooked down the liquid. Yes, I could boil the greens first and then saute, but I've heard that the boiling leeches out most of the nutrients and I didn't want to do that.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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this is what I do:

cook off some bacon, remove the bacon but leave the fat...sautee some diced onions in the lard and then add the collards...when they begin to wilt I add some chicken stock and let them steam a little...then to finish I crumble the bacon into them...

"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

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